The day before Thanksgiving is a day of errands and activity in preparation for homage to the great bird, the Turkey. Errands and chores and cleaning and baking- these are all shallow things, we suppose in our minds. This is not a day for lofty thinking and philosophical pursuits.
I have a list of things to do today. Having been away for five days, the house is lacking in attention, the fridge is almost empty (and needs cleaning) and I have two teenagers still sleeping who will wake up hungry and after eating breakfast, will want lunch, then dinner, and then my son will have a bunch of college-aged kids over who will congregate in our lower level and I better not run out of food. I have a lot to do today.
I have to pay bills today, also. I have to juggle the finances and make things stretch. I have to look at Alex's tuition bill and address that. I'm not even going to think about my husband's career crossroads and what needs to happen there.
I'm going to stick to the simple shallow things of ordinary life today. Do what I can do. And I'm going to remember what Oswald Chambers wrote about how the ordinary "shallow aspects of life" are "ordained by Him equally as much as the profound".
I'll try to remember that as I'm scraping dried apple crisp off the oven doors. I was taking the pan of apple crisp out of the oven last night, gloating over the crumbly browned topping, when I suddenly half dropped it. I caught it in time to keep half the contents in the pan (thinking to myself that I would tell my ravenous son, "Half is better than nothing". See how I have these moralistic little lessons ready on my tongue all the time?!). But the rest of the apple crisp splattered all over the hot oven, sending smoke and a pungent burning aroma throughout the house.
So I'm cleaning the oven today as well. But I'm going to remember that"we are safeguarded by the shallow things of life." And I like the idea of being safeguarded. I like the idea of anything having to do with being safe. So I'm listening to the words of Oswald Chambers. He's right. "We are so nauseatingly serious, so desperately interested in our own character and reputation, we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life."
So how does a Christian clean a dirty oven? How does a Christian pay the bills and grocery shop and scrub counters and clean toilet bowls? Not with a halo on their heads. Not even with a pious look on their face. If smoke is still in the air and the acrid smell of dried baked on brown sugar is filling their nostrils as they bend over the oven and scrape and scrub, the Christian will wrinkle her nose and wish she had held onto the apple crisp pan better. The Christian will scrub the toilets and not try to act like it's a great service for God. It's not. It's simple service. Its taking care of the shallow things of life.
And you can only do that if you're alive. You can only wrinkle your nose in disgust at burned apple crisp if you're still breathing, simply trying, still standing after all is said and done.